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Life Here

December 7, 2017 By Bill Rawlinson

One Helluva Roar

Under the leadership of Maj. Gen. (Ret) Vernon Chong, a team of Paradise Valley Estates residents— all Air Force veterans and spouses — planned a dinner program for Monday evening, September 18, which celebrated the 70th birthday of the United States Air Force. It was a magnificent success in all aspects! The guest speaker, General Michael Carns, former Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, delivered a significant and insightful message about our history and standing as a military force among nations. It was spellbinding! Our thanks to Hal and Phyllis Mosher, the general’s former Pebble Beach neighbors, for their ability to extricate him from his numerous commitments and invite him to PVE. We all received insights that could never be found in any other way.

The evening began with a patriotic mood set by the Fairfield High School Air Force Junior ROTC Color Guard marching in step to present the colors, followed by the pledge of allegiance. Bob McCoy explained the meaning of the symbols on the POW-MIA table display that was set at the head of the room. The guests enjoyed an excellent dinner that followed the introductions and toasts. The attending PVE staff members were at their best.

General Carns then took the microphone and gave us all a lesson on this nation and how it became what it is today. He reminded us of our nation’s beginnings as a country born in isolation and how that isolation was broken by two World Wars. Then the general reminded us of our great work under the Marshall Plan rebuilding Europe. A significant portion was on the “Long Telegram,” Ambassador George Kennan’s famous message to the State Department in 1946 crystalizing our understanding of the Soviet Union and the genesis of our containment policy. As his revelations continued, he brought us to the present time where the Chinese and Russians bombard our country with “hundreds of millions of cyber attacks daily” against our computer systems. During the past eight years, our policy was NOT to attack their systems, but to remain defensive. At the close of his presentation, he stated, “We have pressing internal problems that need attention. Our survival comes first! We need the capability and will!”

Following his presentation, the general took questions from the floor. He was direct and to the point in providing us with a further understanding of our nation’s needs, and noted the high quality of military people brought into the administration…general officers that he knows personally.

Then, as a thank you gift, our own Bill Getz went forward and presented General Carns with copies of the books that Bill has written. The program closed with the singing of the Air Force song and the showing of a special film, produced by a friend of the Marshalls, which covered the history of the Air Force.

In spectacular fashion and demonstrating the USAF capabilities, the program ended five minutes early!

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